Mon, 07 Jul 2003

Balinese protest against WWF

DENPASAR, Bali: Around 100 people from the Desa Adat (customary village) in Tanjung Benoa staged a protest at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Wallacea Bio-Region office here on Saturday, demanding the government revoke the anti-turtle poaching regulation.

The protesters also demanded that the WWF come up with alternative sources of incomes for former turtle hunters.

They also accused the WWF and other environmental NGOs of pushing the government to conduct the recent raids and seizures of several turtle-poaching boats in Bali and Kalimantan.

"We were granted a quota of 5,000 turtles a year by the late governor IB Mantra. It was decreased to 3,200 turtles a year under governor IB Oka. And now it has totally disappeared. We want the quota back," said the head of the Tanjung Benoa Desa Adat AA Gde Asrama said.

The WWF strategy leader for the sea turtle campaign, Ngurah Mahardika, told the protesters that his organization was ready for any dialogue on the development of alternative sources of income for former turtle hunters.

"In fact, the WWF is conducting a participatory mapping on the village's resources and potential to determine the most appropriate alternative sources of income," he said. -- JP